Celeb friends: what the ALS ice bucket challenge reveals about Hollywood

August 26, 2014

Unless you've been living under a rock, in the middle of a desert, with no wi-fi dongle for the past couple of weeks then you would have heard of the ice bucket challenge, in aid of raising awareness and money for ALS. While mere civilians have flooded to social media to nominate their friends to take part, celebrities have also found it extremely appealing. The optimist in you could believe this is to use their public personality to help raise awareness for the form of motor neurone disease; the pessimist may think it is just celebrities raising awareness of themselves. We're not going to judge on that aspect. Instead, we've studied some of the more high-profile celeb videos - mainly of recognised gentleman - and used it to establish who their friends are and what circles they run in. After all, if you're going to challenge someone to throw ice-cold water over themselves, it's going to be someone you're close to. We start with the man whose posters are pinned on EDGAR's office walls, David Beckham. Becks was nominated by one of America's biggest on-screen personalities, Ryan Seacrest. Seacrest was himself called out by Bill Gates, who was given one of the very first celeb nominations from Mark Zuckerberg. Golden Balls (AKA Beckham) then made his nominations. We thought he may have chosen one of the many world-class footballers he has played with throughout his career - Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo, Giggs - but no. True to his US-based lifestyle, Becks called on none other than Leonardo DiCaprio, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan - the world's most famous actor and arguably the two greatest basketball players of all time (sorry LeBron). Let's imagine that dinner scenario. Ryan Seacrest plans to throw a party. He invites Gates and Beckham and tells each of them to bring a friend. The world's richest man shows up with the world's most famous geek, and the footballer takes his choice from Leo or Jordan. As dream dinner parties go, that's not a bad one. Let's look at another chain of ice friends, and one with a particular superhero element. Tim Cook - CEO at Apple - nominated Bob Iger, who is the CEO of the Walt Disney Company. That's two pretty big fish to start with. Iger could have gone with any one of his company's famous children characters, but instead chose Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. RDJ made a typically cool video while sat in a hot tub, in which he did what everyone hoped he would and nominated his fellow superhero actor Chris Hemsworth, AKA, Thor. Hemsworth then took things a step further by calling out Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Chris Evans (Captain America) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye). We won't lie - the idea that the cast of The Avengers are all friends in real life has made our day. The last chain of celeb friends we're going to look at is again in film, but a more wiser, elder circle of fraternity. Oprah Winfrey - AKA the only African-American billionaire in the US - nominated Steven Spielberg, one of the most successful directors ever. His phonebook must be the ultimate who's who of Hollywood, but he stuck to his directing peers and chose George Lucas and J.J. Abrams. J.J. embellished the plot (sorry) by picking writer Stephen King, who in turn nominated author John Grisham. You wouldn't want to so much have dinner with that group, as you would have them write and direct a film about your life. Visit alsa.org